What To Do Without Delgado
If you haven’t heard, Carlos Delgado is having hip surgery and will be out at least two months.
First of all, if his injury is so severe it requires surgery, what in the world was the thought process in keeping him off the disabled list for a week? How do you go from a day-to-day injury to requiring surgery in a matter of hours? Only the Mets …
More importantly, who will play first base in Delgado’s absence? Someone on the current 25-man roster? A player inside the farm system? Someone outside the organization?
Here is a short list of possibilities …
Tatis is the favorite, since he has proven to be adequate in the field and Jerry Manuel has been trying to find a spot in the lineup for his bat all season. It wouldn’t be the worst choice, especially if he can go on a hot streak like he did last July.
Just like that, Reed went from no MLB games at first base to looking like a Gold Glover. If he can continue to hit .350+, run the bases well, and display a flashy glove, he’d be a fine interim replacement — or at least part of a platoon. But what are the chances he’ll continue to hit .350?
Murphy has been taking grounders at first for two weeks now, and many scribes have excitedly reported that the youngster looks more comfortable there than he does in left field (which isn’t saying much). Jerry Manuel promised we’d see Murphy at first in San Francisco, but he failed to tell us in which year. Perhaps he meant a trade was in the works? Until we see if he can handle the position, it’s hard to make a judgment. And, it doesn’t help that he’s been struggling with the bat recently.
There has been not a squeak about Sheff at 1B. Apparently, it is not an option.
Wily Mo Pena
Pena was signed off the scrap heap as a low-cost, low-risk, high-reward type of guy. Based on past history, he has, potentially, more raw power than anyone else in the Mets’ organization. An outfielder by trade, there were some reports that he’s been working out at 1B. At this point, though, it doesn’t matter — Pena is hitting .229 with one homer in his first 48 at-bats, and not showing any reason to be promoted yet.
Lamb is a veteran big leaguer who has experience at both infield corner positions, but, like Pena, has shown little reason for a callup. He’s hitting .167 through his first 72 at-bats.
After a sparkling spring, Evans had an absolutely awful start to his AAA season with Buffalo. You’ve heard of the “Mendoza Line”? Well he was hitting around the “Bob Buhl Line”. (Buhl was a pitcher from the 50s and 60s with who hit .089 in 15 years as a big leaguer.) Evans has reportedly been demoted to AA Binghamton, so a promotion to the big club seems unlikely.
Duda is the starting first baseman for the AA B-Mets, and is hitting .293 through 33 games. The big 23-year-old has the look of a power hitter, but has yet to realize such potential. He batted .263 for Port St. Lucie last year, with 11 HRs in 483 ABs. He doesn’t yet project as an MLB first baseman, and to promote him now makes little sense.
Currently hitting .292 for Port St. Lucie, Davis is a year younger than Duda but just as big and just as far away from Major League action.
The Nationals would love to move Adam Dunn from the outfield to first base, and have Josh Willingham available at the position as well — not to mention Dmitri Young, who, depending on his mother’s health, could be ready to join the team in a few weeks. With the Nats going nowhere fast, and Johnson a valuable chip, one would think he’d be available. The 30-year-old has been injury prone but would be a nice fit at what could be a reasonable price. One would guess the Mets could acquire him for a package of youngsters headlined by either Dillon Gee and/or Nick Evans.
Like Johnson, Huff is on a team that is going nowhere in 2009 and is expendable. He’s also a free agent after this season, so the Orioles will be looking to deal him at some point between now and the end of July. However, he’s likely to cost more in players than Johnson; Gee and Evans would be a starting point. The Mets probably would not want to give up the talent necessary from their already barren farm system.
Now that would be ironic — Jacobs returning to fill in for the man he was traded for. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility, though it would probably cost Dan Murphy, Bobby Parnell, or Jonathan Niese — and it’s doubtful the Mets would part with any of those three in return for Jacobs.
Shealy was supposed to be the Royals’ starting first baseman in each of the last three years, but never quite lived up to the expectations he set as a slugging minor leaguer. The 29-year-old is currently hitting .345 for AAA Omaha, and is now blocked by Billy Butler. If he can be had for a package of fringe prospects, he might be worth taking a shot on.
Blalock is a longshot, and might cost the Mets more than they’re willing to part with. The 28-year-old is blocked at 3B by Michael Young and at 1B by Chris Davis, so he’s toiling as the DH and is struggling with a .237 average. In the last year of his contract, and hitting the way he is, Blalock could come cheap, and in the past has shown he can be an impact hitter. A change in scenery, a regular spot in the order, and the motivation of being in a contract year could be an ideal combination. Would the Rangers be silly enough to take Oliver Perez, straight up? Hey, we can dream.
Too late. The Brewers signed him to a minor-league deal about a week ago. Otherwise, he might have been a nice pickup. Not ideal, but a versatile player with some pop and a lot of grit.
Tracy is struggling mightily to reach the Mendoza Line, but has shown the ability to hit for average and power in the past. Injuries have derailed his career, but at 29 should still have the physical ability to play at his peak. With a $7M club option for 2010, he’ll likely be cut loose at the end of this year. That and the fact that the Diamondbacks are in dire straits would suggest that they’d be listening to any and all offers.